I don’t know about you, but I have a LOT of books that I currently own, but haven’t read yet. This is especially true of my ebook library, which continues to grow.

Also, as an avid public library user, I always have access to shiny new reads that can distract from what I already have.

So, I decided to challenge myself to read more of the books that I own and I developed a fun strategy for choosing what to read next. 

I call it my “alphabet TBR game” and it’s been really fun. (Check out this YouTube video to see it in action for building my January TBR (to-be-read) list.)

Here are the basic steps:

  • Choose a way to randomize letters of the alphabet. I decided to write them all on scraps of paper and randomly choose one from a jar, but I’m sure there is a digital way to do this. Another method might be to open a book to a random page, and choose the third letter of the fourth word (or something similar).
  • Pick a letter. As I mentioned, I randomly choose one from a jar. I decided to do this live on my TBR video each month, so it’s always a fun surprise to see what I get.
  • Use the letter to choose your books. There are a couple different methods for this step. I decided to choose the title of books that start with that letter, but you could also browse by the author’s last name. Once I have the letter, I look through my ebook library (which can be organized alphabetically by title or author), and then choose five books that jump out to me in the moment (keep in mind you could just choose 1 or 2, or even 10 depending on your reading amount each month).
  • Document your TBR. To help me remember what I’m scheduled to read each month, I keep a list on my phone of the books on my TBR pile. I organize them in order of page length (shorter books to longer books), and also keep track of any “extra” books that I end up reading that were not on my original list. I also track what I read, as I read it, in Goodreads (connect with me there to see what I’m reading in real time).

I have loved this strategy to help me see my currently owned books with fresh eyes. How do you hold yourself accountable to reading books you already own?